Spencer Rascoff misses working side-by-side with his former colleagues every day. But it seems he’s enjoying post-Zillow life otherwise.
Rascoff stepped down as CEO of the Seattle online real estate juggernaut in February, nine years after taking the helm of Zillow. His departure was part of a key shift that included the return of co-founder Rich Barton as CEO and a new commitment to Zillow’s emerging home sales operation.
In the two months since, Rascoff has been “enjoying the break immensely,” the longtime tech exec wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday evening. He’s been able to spend time with family and exercise “more in the last 8 weeks than I had in the prior 8 years.” More from his post:
- Rascoff, who relocated to Los Angeles three years ago (he commuted to Seattle for Zillow duties), spent time in the Southern California tech ecosystem over the past few months — and he likes what he sees. “I have been extremely impressed by the size and vibrancy of the L.A. tech community – there is an enormous amount of innovation occurring right now in Los Angeles,” he said. Companies such as Snap, Bird, Eaze, Fair, Wag, and others are based in “Silicon Beach.” Rascoff plans to write a post that compares the L.A. tech scene with those in Seattle and San Francisco.
- Rascoff checked in on some of his early-stage personal investments; he’s written 50 checks over the past decade. “I’m particularly optimistic about Mod Pizza, All Voices, Fair, and Virta Health,” he noted. Rascoff also said he has several offers to join private equity and venture capital firms as a partner. “I might pursue this route at a later date,” he said. “If I decide to invest full-time, I might instead start my own venture capital firm or just invest personally.” He also plans to do more personal investing, especially in the consumer internet space.
- Rascoff has several startup ideas of his own and is “casually” looking for co-founders so that he can, in an ideal world, “find a few 30-year-old versions of myself to be CEOs of these startups, and I’d become executive chairman.”
- Rascoff is still on the board of Zillow and attended his first meeting as just a director, and not CEO. “I enjoyed being able to dive deep on the Zillow business for a few hours as a Director, and then happily leave the Boardroom and the day-to-day stress of running the company behind me,” he wrote. “I could get used to this.” He’s also still a board member at TripAdvisor, Hutch, and the Harvard-Westlake School.
- Rascoff, who earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1997, will teach a new class at Harvard Business School this fall about running high-growth tech companies.
Rascoff held positions at Zillow as CMO, CFO, and COO before becoming chief executive in 2010. During his 9-year tenure as CEO, Rascoff led Zillow through an IPO as the company grew from 200 to more than 4,000 employees. Annual revenue increased from $30 million to $1.3 billion while Zillow acquired 15 companies such as Trulia, Mortgage Lenders of America, StreetEasy, Hotpads, and Naked Apartments.
Rascoff met Barton after Expedia acquired his startup Hotwire in 2003. Barton, who helped launch Expedia and then co-founded Zillow in 2005 with Rascoff and Lloyd Frink, is back as CEO, a title he held during the company’s first five years. The executive changes come as Zillow goes all-in on direct home sales, pivoting from its traditional media business and bringing it in competition with a number of well-funded and experienced rivals in an increasingly crowded online real estate market.